Mick Peter brings playful cartoon-like sculpture installations to Bath's Holburne Museum

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Mick Peter brings playful cartoon-like sculpture installations to Bath's Holburne Museum
Old Ghosts (14 January - 15 May 2022) creates a narrative trail through the museum and its Garden that humorously critiques the conventions of heritage sites.

BATH.- An exhibition of new work by Glasgow-based artist, Mick Peter, Old Ghosts takes a wry and affectionate look at the idea of history as an industry. In several surprising interventions, inside and outside the Holburne Museum, visitors will encounter amusing tableaux which appear to be cartoons that have come to life.

Old Ghosts creates a narrative trail through the Museum and its Garden that humorously critiques the conventions of heritage sites. Visitors will experience Old Ghosts as a series of encounters. Outside the gallery, there will be what appears to be an archaeological dig complete with a half-buried “Roman” road, although the artefacts being revealed are somewhat ‘wrong’. Meanwhile, on the Holburne’s famous facade – known to Jane Austen as the Sydney Hotel, and more recently to fans of the Bridgerton TV series as the home of Lady Danbury – facing Great Pulteney Street, a hapless signwriter desperately tries to complete his task of refreshing the museum’s signage.

Inside the Museum a screen test takes place in the ballroom, with the backdrop a drawn (everything is derived from Peter’s drawings) version of a Georgian room but with camera operators, runners, take-away coffees, and the other paraphernalia of a film set. Here, Mick Peter is playfully riffing on the Holburne’s role as both an art gallery and a film location, along with the history of Bath and, in so doing, is contemplating a new way of thinking about the museum in the 21st-century.
There’s a sense of familiarity with Peter’s playful installations. The life-sized characters he creates, and his style of imagery is influenced by newspaper cartoons and editorial illustration, his sculptures appearing as enlarged two-dimensional drawings. Their monochrome flatness is a device that makes everything that surrounds them part of an immersive scene, a scene which is full of hidden gags and acutely observed details.

Chris Stephens, Director of the Holburne Museum says: “We are starting our 2022 season with two fantastic, but incredibly different, exhibitions. Portraiture is one of the mainstays of the Holburne’s collection so it is entirely fitting that we should mount an exhibition that explores artists’ depictions of the key players in the drama of dynastic, political, and religious conflict enacted on both a national and international stage – the Tudors. One of our most important exhibits is the Museum’s building itself and we are always working to find ways of ensuring that it remains relevant to the current moment. So, I am delighted to be presenting the work of Mick Peter which is both humorous and cleverly questions the status of the museum, the building and the fascination with heritage in a place like Bath and through period dramas in films and on television. The show couldn’t come at a more appropriate moment as the Holburne has reached a truly global audience through its role as Lady Danbury’s house in Bridgerton. This exhibition has been made possible thanks to investment from the Arts Council’s National Lottery Project Grants programme and we are very grateful to all the National Lottery players who make Arts Council funding like this possible.”

Describing his vision for Old Ghosts, Mick Peter says: “The Holburne’s rich history is a great inspiration and I’ve drawn on many of the things I’ve discovered. I’ve also really enjoyed seeing the people who come to visit. I’m an enthusiastic people watcher and I often design my characters and scenarios based on things I’ve seen, maybe someone will recognize themselves in the work! I hope the result is surprising and disarming and brings in first time visitors and for those who come to the museum often a new way of thinking about the building. The work should be accessible, even ‘friendly’ but like every good editorial cartoon hold up a satirical mirror to some of our assumptions and behaviors.”

Mick Peter lives in Glasgow, UK. Mick Peter’s playful installations incorporate imagery influenced by illustration and commercial art. His sculptures are often enlarged drawings, used to animate the narrative of his exhibitions which satirise the symbols of power and authority as well as art making itself.

He has recently had solo shows at Hospitalfield, Arbroath (2021), BALTIC (2019), Deborah Bowmann, Brussels (2018/19), Glasgow International (2018), Galerie Crèvecoeur, Paris (2017), Workplace, Gateshead (2016), Tramway, Glasgow (2015), and Drawing Room, London (2016), Popcorn Plaza, part of Generation: 25 Years of Contemporary Art in Scotland, Jupiter Artland (2014) and Almost Cut My Hair, part of Generation: 25 Years of Contemporary Art in Scotland, Tramway Hidden Gardens, (2014).

Recent group shows include ‘Voyage au long cours’ at FRACNormandie Caen (2018), Natural Selection' at Galerie 5, Angers (2016), France and 'Corps narratifs' at the Domaine départemental de Chamarande, Chamarande, France (2016). Puddle, pothole, portal at Sculpture Center, New York (2014), L’Echo at HAB Galerie - FRAC des Pays de la Loire, (2014), Monument at FRAC Basse-Normandie, (2014), British British Polish Polish: Art from Europe's Edges in the Long '90s and Today at the Centre for Contemporary Art, Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, (2013). In 2010/11 He was included in the British Art Show 7. He has recently published a new book of drawings with Les Bains Douches, Alençon (2020) and is featured in Phaidon’s Vitamin D: Today’s Best in Contemporary Drawing (2021). He is represented by Galerie Crèvecoeur, Paris.

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